Orlando City Coach’s Show Recap: Adrian Heath and Phil Rawlins Talk Team’s Play and More



Tuesday night’s Orlando City Coach’s Show with Adrian Heath saw the gaffer calling from Charleston to discuss Saturday’s win against D.C. United and Wednesday night’s U.S. Open Cup game in Charleston. Club President Phil Rawlins was live at Harry Buffalo to discuss other topics surrounding Orlando City.

Adrian Heath joined the show via telephone from Charleston, South Carolina where he and the team are preparing for their U.S. Open Cup match against the Charleston Battery Wednesday night.

Extending the Unbeaten Streak

  • “The players worked really, really hard to keep a clean sheet.”
  • “I sense there’s more of a togetherness with this group.”
  • “I’ve got every faith that we can go to Montreal and get a result at the weekend.”
Lewis Neal
  • “I thought he was outstanding.”
  • “The one thing we know about Lew is that he’s really intelligent. He’s a footballer’s footballer. He can play virtually any position on the field and turn in a performance like that.”
  • “The most important thing from our point of view is he didn’t change the way we played. We like our two midfield players to start the attack, to play through the midfield, and you’d think he’d play there all his career.”

Training in Charleston

  • “It was over 100 degrees here today. We only trained for 20-25 minutes and then took the guys out of the heat.”

The First Ever Water Break in MLS

  • “The first one came at a good time for us. Give us a chance to speak to one or two players about one or two issues we thought we were getting. I was really disappointed in the last one because the last thing (you want) when you’re concentrating in defense, you want a break. Fortunately we were able to keep our concentration and see the game out.”

Adapting to Team Changes

  • “Most of our players can play in different positions because they know the roles and responsibilities.”
  • “When you’re in a position like we are at the moment with players out on international duty and one or two injuries they (players who can play multiple positions) become invaluable to you.”

Easier Upcoming Schedule

  • “I think one of the most important things we have to realize is the parity in this league is incredible. I look at New York City, who have been bottom of our Eastern Conference most of the season, I don’t see a lot of difference between them and D.C. United to be honest.”
  • “I want us to play with the same conviction we’ve been playing with.”

U.S. Open Cup

  • “I don’t understand why some don’t take it as serious as others because it’s a chance to play in the Champions League.”
  • “We’re going to take it seriously.”

Charleston Battery

  • “I know what the team talk is from them tomorrow because we’ve been using that for the last four or five years.”
  • “It’s going to be a tough game for us but one that we’re going to be prepared for.”
  • “We’re going to have to expect a really good show from Charleston. They’ve got good pace at forward positions. They’re very solid, they’re quite athletic.”
  • “We have to make sure we’re mentally prepared.”

Quick Run of Games

  • “People who have been waiting patiently for an opportunity, their opportunity is going to come around. As we’ve said, when one door closes another one opens for somebody else. Can somebody step up tomorrow night and prove that they should be playing at a regular basis? We’ve got a lot of people who’ve been knocking at my door over the last few weeks asking “Why am I not in the team?” They’ll probably get an opportunity tomorrow night to show what they can do.”

After wrapping things up with Heath, Orlando City President Phil Rawlins was the on-site guest for the remainder of the show. Rawlins gave a lot of background on what the team is doing off the field.

Orlando City Foundation

  • “The futsal court that’s been enjoyed in that area (Parramore) — we’re programming that regularly. There’s lots of activities going on there, as well as summer camps. And then this weekend we gave the donation to the 10 lucky kids from Parramore (Parramore Kids Zone college scholarship) all from a poor background to getting a college scholarship.”

Pivotal Moments in Club History

  • “I think about when Harrisburg hit the posts in the second half of extra time in the 2011 (USL Pro Championship Game) and we were on the ropes and we were down to ten men and it was 1-1 and they were in the ascendency and we were all looking tired and we dominated that game. We deserved to win it. But the guys were tired and they clattered, I think it was the upper 90 of the crossbar of the post and if that’d gone in I didn’t see us coming back from that game and the whole history of the club turned. It hit the post and came out, we went down to the other end, we got a penalty. Lewis Neal scores, we tie it up and it’s 2-2 and we go to penalties and we win. And all of the sudden this city’s got a championship winning team and that was a momentum changer for the club, the city, and the belief that the fans had and everybody had that we could do big things.”

NWSL Team in Orlando

  • “It’s something we would love to see happen. We’ve opened some dialog with the league. We’d love to see a professional women’s team here. We’ve bitten off a lot in the last few years. Stadium, MLS, everything that’s going on to develop that and get that ready. So we want to take a little bit of time to digest that and make sure we’re on an even keel and on a solid foundation. But with that said, we’d love to see an NWSL team here and I don’t think it’ll be too long before that happens.”

Decision to Make Club Purple

  • “When we were designing the original logo, we were working with blue, red, and a hint of gold. We went through a few designs and they were like, ‘You know what would look really good would be if we transferred the blue out and made it purple.’ And I was like ‘Really?’ And they were like ‘Yeah. I think it would look really good with the red and the gold.’ And I was like ‘Okay. If we’re going to go through a new iteration, make the next iteration purple.’ They brought it in and it was a no-brainer. You looked at it and went ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ It just pops. And then I got to thinking about how purple’s a unique color. No one plays in it. We could own the color so this is cool. So we encouraged them to run with the color and it became the dominant color.”

New Rendering for New Stadium

  • “We’ve already been up to Populous in Kansas City to work with them. We’re reconfiguring the stadium as best we can. We’re working on it in double-quick time. They’re back down with us this week. They’re back down with us in another week’s time. I’m expecting that we can get something close to what the final design will look like by early to mid-July.”
  • “Part of the club taking control of the development and building the stadium is that we get to control what’s in there. So we can take control of the concessions, the service, the quality, the technology in the stadium. That all comes under our management, our control rather than Orlando.”

Ticket Prices at New Stadium

  • “We’re really trying to stabilize our ticket prices and provide a family value price that all families can come out and support the team. We’re working hard to stabilize that price at the lower end at a value where families can come out or friends that want to come out and watch the games.”

What Got Adrian Heath to Follow Phil Rawlins to America

  • “Adrian was very determined to come with me to another country. I went back to England at Christmas time and it was back in Christmas of 2007 and a mutual friend of ours knew about the plans I had to build a team, start a team, and Adrian accosted me in the pub. Literally. He kinda pinned me to a wall for 20 minutes and told me why he should be our coach. I’d known Inchy for a long time and I was very taken aback that he wanted to leave England and come to the States. I was very honored that he wanted to do that. To be honest, I didn’t think we could afford to take him because at the time he’d been working in the English game a long time, he had a great reputation, he’d been the assistant coach and head coach at a lot of big clubs. So I was surprised that he wanted to do it. But he was very determined. He really believed in the game in the United States, the growth of the game over here as I did, and he was passionate about wanting to come. So we chatted for a long time and about a month or so later we invited him over, he came out to Texas and spent about a week or so, stayed with Kay and I, looked around at our plans, we shared everything with him, and at the end of the day we shook hands on a deal and from that day forward he’s been our coach. I’ve been very fortunate I’ve never had to interview any coaches at all but one.”


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